Australian Rum Distillers List


Governor Bligh was the subject of Australia’s only military coup thanks to Rum!

Rum has a very long history in the white experience of Australia, going back to the very start of the colony in 1788.

For that we can thank the Royal Navy whose ships brought the first convicts, soldiers and administrators here. The Navy rum ration is well known, and it wasn’t long before they were brewing their own here- the first legal distillery opening in Sydney in 1824, however illegal distilling most likely dates from around 1804 and one of the reasons for the crackdown by Gov. Bligh was to get rid of the illicit stills.

For an in-depth academic look at drinking consumption, importing of spirits and other details of the new colony please see this research paper (opens a PDF – scroll forward to about page 20 onwards).

According to Wikipedia:

“The value of rum was based upon the lack of coinage among the population of the colony, and due to the drink’s ability to allow its consumer to temporarily forget about the lack of creature comforts available in the new colony. The value of rum was such that convict settlers could be induced to work the lands owned by officers of the New South Wales Corps. Due to rum’s popularity among the settlers, the colony gained a reputation for drunkenness, though their alcohol consumption was less than levels commonly consumed in England at the time.[27]

Australia was so far away from England that the convict colony, established in 1788, faced severe food shortages, compounded by poor conditions for growing crops and the shortage of livestock. Eventually it was realized that it might be cheaper for India, instead of England, to supply the settlement of Sydney. By 1817, two out of every three ships which left Sydney, went to Java or India, and cargoes from Bengal fed and equipped the colony. Casks of Bengal Rum (which was reputed to be stronger than Jamaican Rum, and not so sweet) were brought back in the depths of nearly every ship from India although taken to shore clandestinely, to the dismay of the governors. Englishmen living in India grew wealthy through sending ships to Sydney “laden half with rice and half with bad spirits.”

The sale of the Rum caused our very first constitutional crisis when the troops of the garrison (whose officers were making a nice earner trafficking imported rum (which was used a currency in the early colony) overthrew the Governor in 1808, who was none other than William Bligh of the Mutiny of the Bounty fame. The troops were also known as the Rum Corps. You can read the full story here.

But we’ve come a long was since then, and Australia produces several fine and varied Rums, with most coming from Queensland which has long produced world class sugar cane.

Generally speaking the style is quite distinctive and nothing like the Rums you may have had from the Caribbean. Many of the Rum producers have history that goes back over 100 years. For the most part you’ll find they produce dark Rums, but Beenleigh make a very fine white version.

In recent years, there is a range of premium and limited edition releases from companies like Bundaberg to appeal to a more discerning drinker.

For an overview of the main styles of rum, check out my article here.

Updated 16 January 2020

Distillery List

  1. Adelaide Hills Distillery, South Australia
  2. Beenleigh Artistan Distillery, Brisbane, Queensland
  3. Baker Williams Distillery, New South Wales
  4. Black Gate Distillery, Mendooran, New South Wales
  5. Blue Still, Young, New South Wales
  6. Boatrocker Brewer, Melbourne Victoria
  7. Brix Distillers, Sydney New South Wales
  8. Bundaberg Distilling Company Queensland
  9. Castle Glen Australia
  10. Far North Queensland Rum Company, Queensland
  11. Glengowrie Distillery, New South Wales
  12. Golden Lion Distillery, New South Wales
  13. Great Northern Distillery, Western Australia
  14. Holey Dollar, Sydney New South Wales
  15. Hoochery Rum, The Kimberley, Western Australia
  16. Husk Distillery, New South Wales
  17. Illegal Tender Rum co. Western Australia
  18. Inner Circle Rum, Queensland
  19. Jimmy Rum, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
  20. Karu Distillery, Grosevale NSW
  21. Kimberley Rum Company, Western Australia (also known as Canefire Distllery)
  22. Lark Distillery, Hobart, Tasmania
  23. Lord Byron Distillery, Byron Bay, New South Wales
  24. Mad Monkey Distillery, Adelaide, South Australia
  25. Maria River Distillery, Mid North Coast, New South Wales
  26. Milton Rum Distillery, Brisbane Queensland
  27. Mount Uncle Distillery, North Queensland
  28. Natural Distilling Company, Gippsland, Victoria
  29. New Norfolk Distillery, New Norfolk Tasmania
  30. Riverbourne Distillery Captains Flat, New South Wales
  31. Sarina Sugar Shed, Sarina Queensland
  32. Stone Pine,  Bathurst, New South Wales
  33. Saleyards Distillery, Capricorn Spiced Rum, Allenstown, Queensland
  34. South Sea Rum, Western Australia
  35. Tin Shed Distillery, South Australia
  36. The Siding Gerringong, New South Wales
  37. Waterview, Bundaberg, Queensland
  38. Winding Road Distillery, New South Wales
  39. Yack Creek Distillery, Yackandandah,New South Wales

Please let me know if I’ve missed any!

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